Positive and negative effects of volcanoes

Very few naturally occurring things on earth are truly negative. In most cases, naturally occurring things and events are usually a mix of good and bad; while they are partly destructive, they also have some pretty positive impact on the living beings on earth. However, that is not very true about the destructive forces of nature. When a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, or earthquake strikes, or a volcano erupts, we have no choice but to run for cover and wait for it to pass. These forces of nature bring in their wake immense destruction and loss of lives and property. It is tough to see anything good in the whole incident. However, volcanoes are slightly different from the rest. Despite their incredibly destructive nature, they do confer a considerable amount of benefits on the population.

Positive and negative effects of volcanoes

The disadvantages of volcanoes:

Let us, however, begin with the obvious- the destruction wrought by volcanic eruptions.

Immense destruction

When a volcano erupts, it causes immense destruction and loss of life and property. A volcanic eruption of moderate proportions leads to a number of geological changes that wreak havoc on human and animal lives. To begin with, a volcanic eruption is accompanied by a great amount of ash and molten lava, which is extremely destructive to life, property, and the natural landscape around. Severe volcanic eruptions have been known to destroy entire towns and cities, thanks to the smoke, fires, and ash that envelop entire settlements.

Volcanic ash

A volcanic eruption is always accompanied by huge amounts of volcanic ash, which is often extremely thick and capable of enveloping the sky and pervading the air for days on end. A good example would be the eruption of the Icelandic volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, when the ash from the eruption hung over numerous cities for many days, severely disrupting air travel for the duration. Not only that, the incidence of such ash over causes immense damage to the breathable air quality, and in turn to all animal and human lives.

Mudslides

Volcanic eruptions are often accompanied with mudslides and molten lava flow that burns anyone who comes into contact with it. If thick enough, this is also capable of burying entire settlements, as was the case with the twin cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in ancient times. This is also often accompanied by thick, toxic smoke that renders the air unbreathable for miles around, causing a great percentage of the population to suffocate to death.

The benefits of volcanoes:

All said and done, however, volcanic eruptions are not always singularly destructive. They often come with a great amount of good for the population.

Fertile soil

The lava that is emitted from volcanic eruptions is very good for the soil. It makes the soil extremely fertile and aids in the growing of a huge number of crops. This explains why there are always considerable amount of settlements around very active volcanoes; since constant or regular volcanic eruptions make the soil very conducive to agriculture, it is easy to lead a livelihood around a volcanic site.

Generates tourism

A volcanic site is also a great source of revenue for the government of a country. While watching a volcano on action while you are present around it is not a very pleasant experience, there is a certain thrill in being around an active or even dormant volcano and knowing that it may erupt at any time. Besides, the scenery around a volcano is always breathtaking; since the minerals and other nutrients mixed with volcanic lava makes the soil very fertile, it paves the way for some of the most diverse and lush natural flora growing in it. As a chain reaction, the flora also attracts considerable local fauna, which adds to the attraction for tourists. Besides, tourists also enjoy the steam vents, mud pools, hot springs, and bathing lakes that are usually found around an area with considerable volcanic activity.

Geothermal energy

Volcanoes are economized in more ways than one. Apart from tourism, they are also highly economic for the local population. The earth around a volcano is extremely hot, which makes the very potent sources for extracting geothermal energy. This kind of energy is used commercially for a variety of purposes.

A volcano is a terribly destructive force that is impossible to harness despite all the technological advancements made by mankind. Yet, while we have had to bow our heads to the sheer power of nature that is manifested by volcanic eruptions, we have done our best to harness the good that comes out of such immense destruction. After all, it is only a volcano that leaves something to appreciate in it wake.

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  1. Saraswathi
    • Josefina Hamukoto

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